Since it opened in 1993, the Australian National Surfing Museum has been a place where the act and heritage of wave-riding is celebrated and commemorated. Originally the brainchild of pioneering Torquay surfers Peter Troy, Vic Tantau and Alan Reid, the combination of Surfing Australia, the Torquay surf industry and the Geelong Regional Commission turned the idea into a reality.
Through the colourful and exciting permanent displays of an extraordinary collection of surf craft, important surfing artefacts and memorabilia, the museum commemorates Australia’s fantastic surfing heritage and rich beach culture. It also charts the history of surfing and Australia's contributions.
The History of Surfing in Australia: Duke, Isabel & Tommy
The sport of surfing was popularised by native Hawaiian Duke Kahanamoku. In 1915 he gave a demonstration at Dee Why Beach, Sydney. Popular myth says that Isabel Letham rode in tandem with him as the first Aussie surfer, but it is now thought local Tommy Walker surfed before then.
Simon Anderson - 1981 Bells Beach Classic
When Aussie pro surfer Anderson won the 1981 Bells Beach using a three fin "thruster" design of his own making, it was said "Surfing history took its biggest turn since polyurethane foam". The thruster design became the most popular fin configuration over the next 30 years.
Visitors can stroll the boardwalk to explore the evolution of surfboard designs and materials – from solid timber historic boards, through hollow plywood, balsa and fibreglass, to contemporary and futuristic composite construction craft.
Australian Surfing Hall of Fame
The Hall of Fame sits at the heart of the museum, presenting the most significant figures and surfing heroes from Australia’s surfing past via unique examples of boards ridden by each of the enshrined surfers and a biography detailing highlights from their wave-riding lives.
In the museum’s theatre, beach chairs and surrounding historic surfboards create a relaxed environment to check out one of the collection of classic surf movies playing on the big screen.
The museum’s Surf Culture displays include a diverse range of important artefacts, artworks, trophies, historic photos, books, clothing, wetsuits and other memorabilia that reflect different eras from the past 100 years.
Live Surfboard Shaping (2002) by Australian National Surfing MuseumAustralian National Surfing Museum
The Board Room
The museum includes a shaping bay, where you can watch international shaper Eiji Shiomoto at work. If he’s not in action, you can still view Eiji’s latest projects, templates, equipment and tools of the trade.